Making crocheted motifs can be a lot of fun. It’s amazing the different geometric designs that can be created from the same motif or pairs of motifs set in different ways with different colors. The problem comes in when it is time to assemble them. You can wait until the end and crochet them all together afterwards; this eliminates working in loose ends easier. But you will still have at least one loose end to hide on each motif, which can be daunting if you want to make something light weight and lacy, like a shawl. If you are doing all of your motifs in the same color scheme, you can simply skip the final row and join them all using the same yarn or thread for the final round. In general, I have found I have trouble with the join showing on motif work and have never found a joining method that gives me the results I want.
Problem solved! Kristin Omdahl has done all the experimentation for us and offers a book that reveals the secret to joining motifs seamlessly in Seamless Crochet from Interweave Press. All the challenges that may come up have been considered, such as joining half motifs or triangles and clear and precise instructions are included for all the steps you will need to know to complete a seamless motif project.
This is not a book that teaches you how to crochet, but rather a book for crocheters who want to learn a new method for joining motifs. With this in mind, Kristin has kept the projects simple, so they are useful learning tools for mastering the techniques. Once you have mastered the seamless crochet method, you can then go off on your own and complete any motif project seamlessly whether it is a pattern you purchase or something you design yourself.
There are eighteen projects in the book, so you can find something you will like to make for practicing each of the techiques. It also includes an instructional DVD. Which demonstrates the seamless method with three of the projects from the book. You can crochet along with the DVD or choose a project you like and just watch the part of the DVD that shows the technique you need. If you prefer learning straight out of the book, simply browse the projects in the front and choose whatever you like for a first project. Kristin has planned it so both beginners and advanced crocheters will have projects to please and challenge them.
The join as you go method is presented in the back of the book. So, you will want to study that thoroughly first or watch the explanation on the DVD before beginning your first project. You will need to learn a slightly different method than you are used to for reading the charts, but once you understand the concept it is quite simple. There is, also, a short glossary and stitch dictionary in the back along with a resource guide for all the materials suggested with each pattern.
Overall, I think this book is well worth the price. You get to learn a new crochet technique, you get a large selection of patterns, and you get a DVD. That’s quite a lot of bang for your buck in one book. Of the projects offered, my favorite is the very first pattern: Blue Lagoon. It’s a shawl in a hexagon swirl motif. Although it is done in chunky weight yarn, it has a light and airy look to it and drapes very nicely. The Malabrigo Superwash Merino yarn that Kristin has used appears to have a slight sheen to it and no halo. I like that, it gives it a silky look. The Eden Tile shawl is done in a multicolored yarn and adds some depth to the simple motifs, which might otherwise become boring. I also like the Burges lace edging on this shawl. It’s another bonus that comes with this book. You might not be expecting to learn a Bruges lace stitch. The Ninja Star shawlette also gets my vote because the motif creates such eye catching shapes. There is real motion in the design. The Star Mobius is another nice piece that I would like to make. Here, she has used different colors in rows creating a colorful project that is still joined in one piece. I love the soft sheen of the acrylic and bamboo yarn used in this one.
The stitch pattern of Berry Blossom Market bag was too open for my taste. I like a market bag with smaller holes, otherwise things are always falling out. However I do like the three dimensional flowers in the motif. They could be really interesting in a smaller gauge and using a less stretchy thread or yarn.
The weakest designs were the hats, which were nothing new or interesting; and some of the neck pieces which were either too spindly to hold their shape or done in yarn that was too thick to make a really wearable piece. My one other criticism is that some of the edgings are not really three dimensional. The Bruges lace was nice, but some of the edgings were just a long strig with a motif on the end. This kind of fringe will never hang well and will crumple when washed. I can’t imagine blocking each little piece of fringe after washing. If you don’t want regular fringe or tassles, bobbles or other stitches that hold their shape work best with as fringe.
My rating for this book: It’s a keeper! The method is well explained in both charts and written directions, and visuals on Kristin’s DVD. As always, the photos are immaculate; focus is very sharp and lighting is perfect on detail shots. And there is something for everyone in the generous choice of patterns. Now if only there were a method for doing multicolored motifs with no seams. I can’t wait to see if she does a sequel!
Do you have any tips for motif work? What’s your favorite motif?